Generation Wild and Children’s Hospital Colorado Partner to Bring Back “Say Hi with a Snowman” Initiative

Photo by Balázs Benjamin from Pexels

Campaign Returns for its Second Year to Bring Patients’ Snowmen to Life

Generation Wild, a movement from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), has announced its partnership with Children’s Hospital Colorado (Children’s Colorado) to bring back the “Say Hi with a Snowman” initiative, a project that pairs patients with volunteers to bring snowman drawings to life.

“Last year proved that the simple act of getting creative in the outdoors can go a long way toward brightening a patient’s day and reducing the stress that children in the hospital experience,” said GOCO Executive Director Jackie Miller. “The goal for this year’s campaign is to get kids and families outside when it may be challenging to do so and to generate goodwill and positivity within the Generation Wild community.”

The 2022 campaign opens today for families who want to participate and runs through March, traditionally Colorado’s snowiest month. The Children’s Colorado team of Child Life Specialists will present kids with the opportunity to draw their “dream snowman” alongside their favorite colors and outdoor snow activities. Volunteers across the state are then asked to bring these patients’ dream snowmen to life. Families interested in building snowmen can sign up over the course of the six weeks and will be paired with a patient and their snowman. As the snowmen are built, the Children’s Colorado team shares pictures and videos received directly with the patients. Families can also follow the fun through social media, using the hashtag #SayHiWithaSnowman.

The initiative was launched last year with a request for volunteers to build snowmen for patients in the hospital who were unable to get outside and play in the snow. A total of 125 families created real-life snowmen for 19 patients in the hospital. Each child received images of three-to-five real-life snowmen, based on a drawing of their “perfect snowman,” along with anecdotes and letters of encouragement from the volunteers.

“It’s hard for kids to be in the hospital, especially when they’re missing out on the normal child activities, like playing in the snow or spending time with friends,” said Carla Barrentine, director of Child Life at Children’s Colorado. “The ’Say Hi with a Snowman’ campaign is a fun way for kids to use their imagination and creative play when they spend time at Children’s Colorado. It’s also a unique and fun way to instill joy and make our patients smile and feel connected to support systems outside the hospital.”

The “Say Hi with a Snowman” program is one more way Generation Wild connects children and families with nature and enables them to experience the proven physical, mental, and emotional health benefits that come from spending time outside.

Generation Wild was created by GOCO to reconnect kids with nature by increasing the amount of time they spend outside in unstructured play – the kind of play that used to be way more common. The program is an integrated, statewide effort supported by a statewide network of non-profit, public, and private partner organizations. In 12 Colorado communities, diverse, locally based Generation Wild coalitions are creating equitable access to the outdoors with new places to play, outdoor programs, and pathways to leadership opportunities and jobs in the outdoors.

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